Saturday, August 16, 2008

"What is Style?"

In English 328 Writing Style and Technology, we have read many of people thoughts about what style is to them. These authors have given me a new way to look at style. I believe style is how you put a paper or other kind of document together. It is the type of language you use in your writings and it involves the proper use of words and punctuation. Your "style" also depends on who your audience and readers are. Most importantly, I think that style is what distinguishes you from other writers. For example, McCloud's style was comics.

There are many definitions to "style," but to have a good style of writing you have to make sure that your readers have an understanding of what you write.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"SpiderPro" Do's and Don'ts

I found that "SpiderPro" was the best refernce to me during the revisions of my web page. The Do's and Dont's were very direct and helpful, they stuck to the basic webpage, as I found that Web Style Guide seemed to be for the more experienced people with web pages. The rules of "SpiderPro"that were most useful to me in the revisions of my web page, were found in the presentation on text. In particular, "Do seperate adjacent textual links." I found this rule to be very helpful because I seperated my links with bullets. My readers can click on a bullet each bullet to view a different link. The "Don't hide your links" rule brought to my attention the fact that at times, some of my links do not show up. I realize that the color I chose may have been too dark, so this is something that I will try to work on.

I also found that the rules for design of "SpiderPro" were very helpful to me in designing my web page. "Don't use Dark Backgrounds," this rule came in handy because my use of a dark background prvented my links from showing up on the screen, even though they were there. The rule "Don't cram your pages" was also helpful because as I tried to post an image on my web page, it came up too large, and it took over my whole page. Reading this rule, endouraged me to resize my picture, or find one that was small enough to fit on my web page.

"SpiderPro" helped me in creating a better web page. In creating web pages, I did not realize that there were rules that you had to follow in order to create a neat and readable web page.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"SpiderPro" and "Web Style Guide"

In creating web pages, there are many guidelines and rules to follow. I am not a computer wizard, and I need to step by step guidelines what and what not to do. I definitely do not understand computer language, or some of the technical terms used in some guidelines. When reading the guidelines for "Web Style Guide" and "SpiderPro," I found that they both were significant in different ways.

"SpiderPro" seemed to be easiest to understand and follow. This site gives you specific details on what you need to know about creating a successful website. This site gives you direct do's and dont's of instructions of creating a basic and easy to read web page. "Web Style Guide" looked as though it was directed more towards those who are more advanced with computers and web pages. I chose to get information on the subjects of design and how to organize the text of my web page, in a successful way that will not confuse my readers or viewers.

When looking up design techniques, I found that "SpiderPro" is directed towards anyone of all ages requiring the basic use of a web page and "Web Style Guide" is geared towards those who already know the basics and are looking to create more of a professional web page. For example, "SpiderPro" says, "Your style should stand out as a whole, use the same look and feel for all pages on your site." and "Web Style Guide,"says that "All Presentations of Information are governed by parameters determined by the objectives, the practical logistics of the chosen medium and audience." Both of the sites give direction on how to design to good web page, but "SpiderPro" is so much clearer and more direct, while "Web Style Guide" seems to focus more on the audience, and subject of your design. The words used to describe how to create a good design in "Web Style Guide" seems to be more business oriented. Although "Web Style Guide" uses more professional words this site also shows specific diagrams of how the web page should look, while I think that "SpiderPro" gives such clear directions that they do not need examples. On design themes, "Web Style Guide" also says "A successful site requires real, sustained engagement, and you get that only by offering both sophisticated visual stimuli and a site that is structured to meet the needs of its audience quickly and effectively." This statement shows that this site is for a more professional audience, one that could be used in a presentation at a business meeting. In regards to a successful site, "SpiderPro" states "Don't cram your pages" and "Don't push your table out of the screen." They are basically saying that you should keep your page neat and in a structured order.

When reading about the content and basic information structure of your website, I found that again "Spider Pro" gives more basic information. For example, "SpiderPro" says "It's important to know your audience"and "Write and design with your visitors in mind." This statement is very clear and specifically shows you that if you are creating a web site for professional use, make sure that you use the correct language and images. "Web Style Guide" says "Yet without a solid and logical organizational foundation, your Web site will not function even if your basic content is accurate, attractive, and well written." With the use of many more words, "Web Style guide" is saying that you should organize your content and language around your audience. On this subject it seems as though "SpidePro" gives you directions on the vocabulary usage and grammar usage in your website. For example, "SpiderPro" says "Do write about the subject," and "Don' t use meaningless words" while "Web Style Guide' goes beyond the vocabulary and grammar usage, assuming that you should know the basics and gives you instructions on how to organize your content. For example, "Web Style Guide" says "Build a site that closely follows your information structure" and "Divide your content into logical units." I think that the directions that "SpiderPro" gives you are implied in the "Web Style Guide" instructions.

If I had more knowledge about web sites and their usage I would use "Web Style Guide", but since I am not that advanced in creating web pages and sites, I think that this site will not be as useful to me at this time. When I get into my career or get more experience with web pages, I think that " Web Style Guide" will be of more usage to me.

In comparing both of these sites, I found that "SiderPro" will be more useful to me in creating my website. It has more basic information that I can understand. The word usage in "Web Style Guide" is more advanced for me and I think that using this site as a guide will cause confusion along the way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comics ala McCloud, Part 2

Comics are a different kind of reading. When I am reading most comics, I find myself having to go back to previous pages because at some point I get lost. I do not know if that means that they do not hold my interest, but when I read MCCloud's comic " The Right Number," I did not have that problem. I was anticipating what was going to happen next and part two. His comic held my interest because it was something that I could relate to. It was a comic that I think even adults will enjoy. The illustrations used were not ordinary illustrations of comics. They told the story and there was not too much detail, like you find in other comics. I am interested in reading my classmates thoughts of this comic and others.

When I was reading Annika's comments on the comic she read, I can honestly say that I was lost. It seems like more of the typical comics that you usually see in the Sunday paper, but funnier. Annika said, "I look at the 'pictures' and don't often look for deeper meaning." When I read this comic, it reminded me of how I used to look at comics and why I did not enjoy them as much. Annika also said,"What finally clued me in was the character in the middle (and I don't know his name at all...). His frustration with his boss (Devil Horns guy) and his office mate "brown noser" is evidenced by his throwing up his hands in surrender." Although, I have not fully read this comic, I have read the strips, it seems to be a situation that many people can relate to in one way or another. We have all had those days when you are having a bad day at work and you just give up and walk away. When reading these strips it felt as though I was watching the movie "Office Space." That movie was hilarious, but at the same time it reminded you of the typical office. No one seems to thrilled to be there and everything seems to be routine. The illustrations in this comic seemed to be more of the typical ones with the colors and drawings. I do not know was one of McCloud's or related to it, but it was an interesting comic.

When I was reading Allen's article I cam across a statement that made a lot of sense to me. " However, if we want to use words and images effectively to achieve our purposes, and if we want to design intriguing uses of words, we need to learn more about how they work and relate." This is very true when you are reading comics, you cannot just look at one or the other and be able to distinguish what the comic is about, you have to put them together to get the whole story. McCloud does a good job of that in his comics and book. He gives us examples and shows us illustrations that help us to understand where he is coming from. Lanham also made a very interesting comment, he said, "It involves a fundamentally different meaning for literacy itself." This is true of all other types of electronic readings, it takes away from the ordinary book where you have to use your imagination to help you understand where the writer is coming from. That is what I enjoy about reading, but McCloud's comics have given me a different outlook on comics, one that I can enjoy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

McCloud: " The Right Number"

Comic books are different types of books that come in the form of a magazine , with thin paper. The illustrations in comic books look more realistic than ordinary books and they tell a story. Although, I have never been a fan of comic books, they seem to be the most interesting form of books to read. Comic books are usually books that children are interested in, but McCloud writes comics for the more adult comics.

In Chapter two, McCloud says,"But when you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself....The cartoon is a vacuum into which our identity and awareness are pulled, an empty shell that we inhabit which enables us to travel into another realm. We don't just observe the cartoon we become it!" With this being said, I feel that McCloud writes comics that people can relate to in one way or another.

The comic I chose to read was entitled,"The Right Number." I have never read any of his comics before so they were all new to me. I also enjoyed the fact that you could read the comic online. It was like watching a movie. When you see comic books, you think of superheroes or comical comics, but his comics tell a story. This comic, in particular, told a story that many of us students can relate to. It involved college grad students, dates, relationships, ans sex. As college students we have all been in these kinds of situations. Reading his comic was like watching a love story, with a twist. It started out with a guy named o had been going to the library everyday to meet a girl. They were grad students in the math department. He finally approached her and they began to date. Their relationship was a typical relationship, in which they shared their thoughts and talked about life.

Their relationship became serious and within a year, they were living together. Things start out fine, but the two of them begin to argue. I can relate to this because I was in the same situation. Throughout this story, the name of the man was not given, only the names of the women. He thought he was calling his girlfriend, Jodie, but he ended up calling, Julie. He went on the date with Julie and did not recognize that it was not her until the end of the date. He called the wrong girl because their two phone numbers were so close, 7-0-6-3 and 7-0-6-7. Eventually he and Jodie ended their relationship. He called Julie and their relationship began, he felt that it was fate that got them to meet. In the end, their relationship failed and he was back at square one. In the end both Jodie and Julie said that he was not in touch with his emotions, he acted as though nothing bothered him. McCloud's comic told a very interesting story that contained many twists that kept you wanting to read more.

This comic involved a relationship that anyone can relate to in one way or another. It was not a typical love story that you see all of the time. Although it told a love story, this comic used mathematics as a way of fate. The man in this comic used similarities in phone numbers as ways of finding the right girl.

Part two of this comic was a little more confusing and involved a lot of numbers and mathematical terms. It seemed as though the man in the comic went backwards instead of forwards and he never seemed to admit that he might have been the problem. Reading this comic has made me very interested in reading McCloud's other comics.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What do Others Think?

Seeing what others have written on a certain subject,and listening to their feedback one of your assignments can be very useful in to us in our writings. Also discussions about readings in class are very helpful to me in understanding them. There are times when I am doing my homework when I wish someone, in my class, was there to help me understand it, or to give me their thoughts about the readings. This assignment seems very interesting and it may give me a better outlook on Strunk and White and Williams.

While reading others thoughts of Strunk and White and Williams, I found that our thoughts were basically the same. Annika said, "Williams? He is some place where those that know go. I agree with her. As a writer in college you are already confused about your writings because so much, in writing, has changed since high school. His book seems to be for a more advanced writer, maybe ones who know everything about writing, but may need some guidance in putting it together. Annika also made a comment about the way Williams wrote his book. This comment has gave me an understanding of him and the way he writes. She said, " And actually, once you get thru some of the harder parts, Williams is actually conversational." Reading Williams' "Style" was hard for me. In some cases, I had to skip around some parts and read ahead, then go back and read what I had missed to fully understand the message that he was trying to get across in his writings. Annika's comment gave me a different perspective of how to read his book. Her thoughts of Strunk and White states the big difference between these writers.

Annika said, "S and W is geared towards the normal writer." I completely agree with her. When we write, we tend to focus more on our language then the order of our papers. We try our best to make our writings sound professionla and not how we may converse with others. In the process, we sometimes tend to make up our own words, without checking to see if the words really exist. Strunk and White focuses on the language and vocabulary of writing which is one of the most important things in writing. Williams' is written for those who know the proper vocabulary, but may not know how to arrange their sentences in ways that can be easily understood. Jennifer brings up an an interesting subject in her writing about Strunk and White.

You learn about the correct word usage as a child. Once it is processed in your head, you think that you will never forget it, but you do. Jennifer says, "The Elements of Style is a very useful guide. All students should keep a copy in their knapsack." She is right, as students our vocabulary is so disoriented that we do not worry about what is right or wrong. Carrying around this guide will be very useful to everyone in one way or another. His book refreshes our memory and tells us the correct and incorrect words to use when talking about different topics.
Carrying this guide around may even help us use the correct vocabulary when are just talking to others.

Reading others essays have given me a better outlook on both of these readings. I found that seeing what others think can give you a different view on things. It has also gave me a better understanding, now I do not feel as confused about the readings because I see that I am not the only person who may feel that way. I also felt as though I was "stupid" in a sense because I understood Strunk and White's book, more than I understood Williams', but Annika and Jennifer's thoughts showed me that I was not the only person who found Strunk and White much easier to read.

I would have enjoyed reading my other classmates thoughts, but unfortunately I was able to open their blogs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Comparing Strunk and White with Williams

Strunk and White and Joseph Williams, both provided us with useful techniques of writing. It can be hard to know what is right, when you write because so many people have different opinions of "good" writing. Both of these authors have influenced my writing in different ways.

Strunk and White focused more on the words that are appropriate and inappropriate for writing. In my first blog assignment, I wrote about rules that I were not aware of in writing. For example, the word"funny" is not a good word to use when introducing your essay or topic. Strunk and White writes, "Also to be avoided in introduction is the word funny. Nothing becomes funny by being labeled so."(Strunk and White 50). Although "funny" is a word that I do not often use in papers, I was unaware of the fact that it should not be used in introductions. The word that surprised me the most was "irregardless," this a word that I hear people use everyday, but come to find out, it is not even a word. Strunk and White's explanation made me fully understand why it is not a word. It is a word that had double negatives. Although, Strunk and White focused more on the words in an essay, Williams' focuses more on the order or word grouping in an essay.

When reading Williams' 'Style,' I could see how it related to Strunk and White's. In chapter five of Williams' "Style" , he says " A reader will feel that a reader is cohesive if it has other strings of related words, strings that we call thematic strings. (Williams 83). Rule twenty of Strunk and White also touches on this subject. "Keep related words together" (Strunk and White 28.) Another example of how these readings relate to each other is found in chapter seven of Williams, "Simple Sources of Wordiness." (Williams 116). This rule involves getting rid of unnecessary words. Although Strunk and White do no have a rule based on getting rid of unnecessary words, most of the rules involve leaving unnecessary words out. In reading the last chapters of Williams' "Style", I found that these chapters related to some of the first five chapters.

Chapter Seven of "Style" discusses "Simple Sources of Wordiness." In my last blog assignment, I used an example that also could have also been used with this rule. In one of my examples, I felt that the word "just" should have been left out of the sentence. The word seemed unnecessary in the sentence and without it, the sentence seemed to flow better. Both of these readings had different views of writing,but they seem to be based on some of the same topics. I found both of them useful in different ways.

The advice offered by Williams was more useful to me with my writings because it went more into depth about different topics and how we understand them in papers. Williams' not only used one explanation, but he used every possible way to read a para graph or a sentence. By reading his rules or explanations, I was able to find one that I could relate to; and in the process, I could make the proper revisions.

Strunk and White was more effective to my writings because they focus more on correct word usage and the proper ways of writing. I found this more effective because at times I struggle with the correct word usage. At the same time, many of these rules related to Willliams' . In conclusion, I think that Strunk and White was easier to understand and more beneficial to my writings.